Friday, July 20 , 2018, 2:24 pm | Fair 75º


Gerald Carpenter: Symphony Offers Mellow Alternative for New Year’s Eve

Once again, the choice is ours: We can head straight to the nearest traditional New Year's Eve party — traditionally loud, gin-soaked, and frantic — or we can take a more circuitous and leisurely trip toward midnight aboard the Santa Barbara Symphony's annual New Year’s Eve Pops Concert.

Starting at 8:30 p.m., this year as every year, the two-hour program, in the Granada Theatre, 1214 State St., generally finishes around 10:30 p.m. — plenty of time for us to rush out to a wild party and make fools of ourselves.

Officiating from the podium we will find Maestro Bob Bernhardt, currently the principal pops conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra and the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera.

Bernhardt will be conducting music from Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek and Mission Impossible, in addition to cherished light classics by Peter Tchaikovsky, George Gershwin, J. P. Sousa, Wolfgang Mozart and Claude Debussy.

The Symphony's principal harpist, Michelle Temple will solo in the first movement of George Frederick Handel’s delicious "Harp Concerto in Bb-Major."

The musical pleasures of the evening will this year be augmented by the participation of aerial performance troupe, Cirque de la Symphonie, complete with aerial flyers, acrobats and contortionist, whose performances are choreographed to specific compositions.

"Some dance to remember, and some dance to forget," sang the Eagles, in the group's famous song "Hotel California." Those who choose memory over oblivion (moi, aussi) will find the Granada a congenial venue Saturday evening, with each seat a comfortable station for looking back through as many years as the music will carry you.

Yet, so much is this a win-win situation that those who wish to forget — i.e., everything happening outside — will also find solace among new friends and ad hoc families created by the Symphony.

Tickets for the New Year's Eve Pops Concert are $39-$114, with special rates for seniors, students and groups. Discounted student tickets are available for $10 with valid student ID. Single tickets can be purchased from the Granada Box Office, 899-2222, or online at

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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